They helped the Redskins win Super Bowl XXII 30 years ago. Today, they finally got some formal recognition for their efforts.
The 1987 replacement Redskins, who came in and played while the players were on strike, went 3-0. They did their jobs succeeding in, as then-assistant general manager Charley Casserly said, “holding down the fort” until the strike ended and the regulars returned.
The replacement players did get to share in the money that came with the team winning the Super Bowl. But the team was reluctant to give them much recognition for their contribution to the championship, in part because of fear of riling the regular players, who were not happy with players crossing the picket lines. The players ended up losing four paychecks.
But time heals all wounds. Casserly told the story of defensive tackle Darryl Grant punching the windows of the bus that brought the replacements into Redskins Park so hard that he broke the glass. But Grant recently endorsed recognizing the replacement players with rings. And at the end of the ceremony, quarterback Doug Williams, wide receiver Gary Clark, and defensive end Dexter Manley took the stage and posed for a group picture with the players being honored.
Safety and defensive captain Skip Lane, who had been with seven different pro football teams before the Redskins called to have him come in to help, said that the money they got was long gone, making the ring something special.
“It’s validation,” he said of getting the ring. “Because we’d been called scabs our whole life. The Redskins wanted nothing to do with us because they did not want to attach their great Super Bowl to us. But as time went by, they realized what a real part we were. And even these guys, Dexter and Doug, were behind us getting rings.
“It’s a great feeling because in your heart you knew that you were a part of it, but you never were really accepted into the organization and this kind of does.”
Tony Robinson is a former Tennessee quarterback who was serving time in prison until the Redskins made him their backup signal caller on the replacement team. He didn’t play a snap until starter Ed Rubbert was injured early in the game against Dallas. The rest is legend as the replacement team, with no regular players having crossed the picket line, beat a Dallas team that had multiple regular players in the game including Hall of Fame players in running back Tony Dorsett and defensive tackle Randy White.
Robinson said that he was not nervous at all as he went on the field at Texas Stadium. But he was quite pumped up as he went up to claim his Super Bowl ring.
“My heart was pounding, man,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”
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